State offers many vacation locations

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gasoline prices are creeping up again, and the drilling rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico is already pushing prices higher.

But we all need a summer vacation of some type or another, and Gov. Dave Heineman is offering an economical alternative to long road trips or frustrating air travel.

May 8-16 is "See Nebraska Week," and the state started several new tourism campaigns to promote travel across the state.

Under the Nebraska Byways Passport program, travelers are encouraged to pick up a souvenir passport at one of 27 participating locations along Nebraska's nine scenic byways and collect stamps from each location for a chance to win a prize.

The History Along Nebraska's Byways program encourages young people to help plan their family vacation.

Designed with the help of educators, the material will be distributed to 1,140 schools across the state. It includes a Nebraska map with icons for various historical locations across the state, a Nebraska byways history video and classroom activities including crafts, worksheets, interactive games and field trip activities.

Subjects include state symbols, American Indians, map reading, explorers, pioneers, forts and military bases, among other topics. More information is available online at historywithtyler.com

The division also offers a new RVNebraska brochur with information to make the most of a trip along Nebraska's scenic byways, including details on campgrounds along byway routes and top attractions.

Nebraska remains one of the most cost-effective destinations in the nation for travelers. AAA consistently names Nebraska one of the top five most affordable vacation destinations in the United States, with average daily vacation costs for a family of four well below the national average.

It's not just good public relations for the Cornhusker state. Travelers in Nebraska spent more than $3.7 billion on overnight trips in 2009, and annual spending in the state has increased by more than $2 billion since 1990. Nebraska's tourism industry provides more than 42,000 jobs and is the third-leading industry in the state.

We are disappointed that the Heritage Highway Scenic Byway, which runs from Brownville to Edison on U.S. Highway 136, isn't extended on through Southwest Nebraska to the Colorado or Kansas border, but hope that can be rectified in the near future.

There are plenty of potential attractions to see along the way, including beds and breakfasts, museums and historical sites like the Furnas County, Cambridge Museum, High Plains Museum, George Norris House, Massacre Canyon monument and many, many more along the way.

We hope you will consider Nebraska when making your vacation plans, with major sites such as the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, Carhenge near Alliance, Harold Warp's Pioneer Museum in Minden, the Golden Spike at Bailey Yards in North Platte the Great Platte River Archway Monument in Nebraska and dozens of others around the state.

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